Sentinel Apiary Monthly Memo: August Issue

We’re back again with another monthly update from the Sentinel Apiary Program! Let’s take a look at what’s been going on with mites, drones, honey, and more over the past month.

Throughout the month of July, Sentinel participants submitted 378 samples from 71 apiaries across 27 states! July finally showed us a big increase in mite loads, with the average Sentinel apiary now at the treatment threshold of 3 mites/100 bees. This July Sentinel apiary mite loads are higher than the historic national average, and much higher than the mite loads from last year’s Sentinel apiaries. This could mean we’re having especially high Varroa pressure this year, so if you have yet to check your colonies for mites, now is the time!

Monthly average mite loads for 2019 Sentinel apiaries compared to the historical national average, and 2018 Sentinel apiaries.

The state that had the lowest mite load in July was Colorado with an average of 0.22 mites/100 bees. Way to go Colorado! Over 50% (n=14) of states exceeded the 3 mites/100 bees threshold in July. The trend of higher mite loads in southern states is holding strong, with most southern states well past the threshold of 3 mites/100 bees. Northern states are also starting to creep up and will likely exceed that threshold in August. Check out our interactive Varroa map to see how your state is faring.


As for our July superlatives, congratulations to the following!

The state with the biggest bees: Illinois with 0.189 grams/bee.

The state with the most drones total: Michigan with 259 drones.

The state with the most drones per sample: New Jersey with 131 drones total, over 16 drones per sample!


University of Maryland apiary manager Andrew Garavito loads full honey supers onto our truck.

We also started to get Sentinel participants reporting honey harvested in July. A total of 12 beekeepers reported they harvested a total of 1,070 lbs of honey from Sentinel colonies. The state that reported the most honey harvested in July was Arizona. Let’s see if anyone can beat them in August!


That’s all for this month’s update. If you’re a Sentinel participant and have ideas about what you’d like to see in future updates, please let us know. We’ll be back next month to see how everyone looks as we approach fall!


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